NEW DELHI, MARCH 21: Founding NNC President AZ Phizo breathed his last in his London suburb home on April 30, 1990.
The SC Jamir-led Congress Government was in office in Kohima and VP Singh was Prime Minister while Kashmiri leader Mufti Mohammed Sayed was Union Home Minister.
The Centre had given the necessary nod for bringing the body to India and later to Nagaland. The VP Singh Government also had dropped ‘all the charges’ against Phizo.
In Nagaland, a special committee was formed with Rev VK Nuh as the Chairman and the then Education Minister IK Sema was also included as a member. Late Chalie Kevichusa was the general secretary to the panel, which also included Dr Kiremwati Ao and student leaders and others.
Vamuzo was not a member of the Assembly then and he along with NPC colleagues Shurhozelie and Thenucho had air-dashed to Delhi for the necessary spade work with the Central Government.
A joint press release was issued on behalf of ‘Naga Freedom Fighters’ and it had alleged that the intent behind bringing Phizo’s mortal remains to Nagaland was a “political move to undermine his principles and all that he stood for”.
According to Walunir Weekly edited by Assamwati Longkumer, the statement was signed by former Kilo Kilonser (Home Minister) of Federal Government of Nagaland, Biseto Medom Keyho and also former Secretary to NNC President, Kevimeru Savino and NNC member Amao.
The statement maintained that Phizo had “never surrendered to the Government of India, the question of dropping all charges against him does not arise”.
The press release also stated that it would have been better if Phizo was buried in England “like thousands of Naga patriots who have been buried far from home”. (Walunir Weekly, May 8, 1990).
“It is understandable that a State Government which bows down to the Indian Constitution should make political capital out of Phizo’s death or may have decided to make a gesture on humanitarian grounds”, the statement said adding, they could “foresee another grave misunderstanding and further divisions among Nagas arising over this issue”.
The Weekly also carried the news story that Phizo’s daughter Ms Adinno (then 57) was nominated to be interim president of the NNC. “She told newsmen in London that it was not a case of establishing dynasty but of promoting the cause for which her father fought all his life”, the newspaper said.
Adinno had arrived in London in 1963 ‘seven years after her father’ and used to work as his political secretary. He brother Kevilevor Phizo had joined them in 1966. “Both the son and daughter said they were helping their father in mobilising international opinion for the Naga cause”, the paper said.
It may be mentioned that in his eventful career, in September 1954, Phizo formed the “People’s Sovereign Republic of Free Nagaland”, with the support of Chang chiefs of Tuensang.
When he escaped from the erstwhile Naga Hills to East Pakistan, he did not have an Indian passport. Wikipedia says, after acquiring a British passport while in London, the Indian Embassy refused to issue him a visa to visit India. His colleague Khodao Yanthan later said, “Mr Phizo was a perfect Naga leader. I don’t believe there will be any Naga leader like Mr Phizo.”